‘There is No Rainy Day Fund,’ Montana Governor Steve Bullock’s Fiscal Claims Challenged
Ads by the Steve Bullock for Governor Campaign (view above) continue tout Bullock’s ability to balance the state budget and claim the Governor has managed to leave the state with a $300 million rainy day fund, but the numbers can vary wildly depending on who is doing the counting.
Republican State Senator Fred Thomas of Stevensville serves as the Chair of the Interim Revenue and Transportation Committee, which is tasked with tracking state revenue in the run-up to the next legislative session. Thomas says things aren’t as rosy as Bullock’s ads make them appear.
"It looks like we will have less revenue coming into the state than our ongoing expenditures as they have been," Thomas said. "In essence, we will be in a deficit scenario. We will need to cut back on expenses to bring them below the new revenue. It's a huge swing of events. It is poor management. The Governor's Office has overestimated revenue; they all but guaranteed that we would have $300 million more coming in."
According to Thomas, the rainy day fund has gone down the drain.
"There is no rainy day fund," Thomas said. "The big ending fund balance that the governor inherited when he was elected is gone and we will be looking at a very difficult legislative session in January of 2017. Of course, that will effect all of our local school districts and our human services, and our university system for funding.... it's very serious."
One of the main causes for the drop off in revenue are declines in oil, gas and coal taxes. KGVO news has reached out to Governor Bullock’s Revenue Director Dan Villa and we hope to present his take on the situation as soon as possible.